Developed world must 'walks the talk' on climate change: India

United Nations: India has told a high- powered summit on climate change convened by UN chief Ban Ki-moon that if the developed world "walks the talk", the international community can certainly achieve the targets it has set to tackle climate change.

India's Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar told the Climate Summit organised here yesterday that India remains committed to pursuing a path of sustainable development through eradication of poverty, both of income as well as energy.

Prakash Javadekar
Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar

He, however, stressed that it is "self-evident" that developing countries can do more if finance and technology support and capacity building is ensured. "This must be a key focus of international cooperation," he said.

"If the developed world walks the talk, then we can certainly achieve the targets that we have set ourselves collectively," Javadekar said. More than 120 heads of states and government, including US President Barack Obama, participated in the day-long climate change summit where the UN Secretary General warned that the "human, environmental and financial" cost of climate change is "fast becoming unbearable" and called on the world leaders to cut emissions so that by the end of this century the world becomes carbon neutral.

During the summit, countries have explained contours of their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which he said is a "good beginning". Javadekar described as "worth noting" the global efforts displayed at the summit.

He said India looks forward to a successful UN climate change conference in Peru in December. Javadekar stressed that the UN climate summit was taking place under the umbrella of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is the original and the central pillar of negotiations on climate change and "all other efforts can only be complementary in nature."

He said India's new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attached "high importance" to action- oriented policies to bring development to its people while addressing climate change and has "shown that we have the political will to act."  Javadekar outlined the efforts taken by the Modi government towards achieving energy efficiency, improving forest coverage and cleaning India's rivers.

He also spoke about Modi's "ambitious programme" of "Make in India" with "Zero Defect and Zero Effect". The minister said that the new government has doubled the Clean Energy Cess from Rs 50 per tonne to Rs 100 per tonne of coal to raise more revenue for clean energy technologies and the fund has now close to USD six billion.

Over USD 15 million have been allocated to the 'National Adaptation Fund', USD 80 million for setting-up of ultra mega solar projects in several states of India, USD 100 million for a new scheme 'Modern Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Technology' and USD 16 million for the development of one MW Solar Parks on the banks of canals, Javadekar pointed out.

"This is just the beginning of our ambitious action. Once budgeted, outlays for such initiatives will always increase," Javadekar said. He also pointed out that USD six billion would be distributed among Indian states for afforestation activities.

The energy consumption in India would need to increase four times as its Human Development Index increases from the current value of 0.5 to 0.9. "The key challenge therefore is to enable this higher energy consumption at a cost that people are willing and able to pay, and with lower carbon intensity," he said.

Javadekar also reiterated India's commitment to achieving its voluntary goal for reducing Emission Intensity of its GDP by 20-25 per cent by 2020 over 2005 level. Highlighting efforts being made by India in this regard, Javadekar said the country is doubling the installed wind energy capacity over the next five years, increasing installed solar capacity to over 20000 MW by 2020 and achieving 10,000 MW of Energy Efficiency savings by 2020.

He said the action plan for cleaning the River Ganga will bring multiple benefits in the form of reduction of pollution and climate adaptation.

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